I love city life, but I am also a bit of a claustrophobe. Not big into crowds. Don't like that feeling when there are so many people milling around that you get stretch marks just trying to get off the Metro. Also, do NOT get me started on that semi-catatonic walk many sight-seers do. Dear Sight-Seers: I wouldn't mind so much if you didn't hold hands 5-across. And shuffle aimlessly like extras in The Walking Dead. My favorite show, but I wouldn't ride the Metro with the Zed Ones. The Walking Zed!! A new title for my fav show in Canada and Eng-uh-land! You never know when genius will strike. See? But I digress. Saturday was kinda wonky in DC - Cherry Blossom tourists, St. Paddy's Day tourists, and the Rock-n-Roll Marathon tourists. I spent the day in the National Gallery of Art. Me = Happy Puppy.
I live kinda in DC and kinda in Virginia. Long story. Won't bore you with it. BUT, I spend a good amount of time in both places. So, my world is a contrast between sloburbia, full-on country (I find I'm such a swamp-lovuh!!), and full-0n city (my comfort zone). I am a fast walker, and I like to sorta land in my own space. As in, I like to sit and listen to Amos Lee and Jack White and Imelda May and cartoon away awhile slamming water, Diet Coke, or a prissy latté - and I like public places now and then, because I'm a people watcher. These people find their way into my cartoons. hee hee
Last Friday, (why does she go back in time in today's blog? I dunno) I went to Pret A Manger (a coolio little sandwich place - they make everything fresh and give their leftovers each day to the homeless. AND they are inexpensive. I love all those things.) So, I'm sitting there, in an empty section, eating my yummy little half-sandwich, and this woman is hovering behind me, waiting on this nice young man to clean the counter next to me. Then she steps forward and runs her finger across it to see if it's dry enough for her. It isn't. Still no one but me at the counter, facing the window out. She hovers more, then sits. Right next to me. In an empty section. Hmmmm. Then proceeds to stare at everything I do. Everything. What I'm eating. What I'm drawing. When I go to the trashbin . . . So, I used an iPhone evasion tactic. Look at me, whoa, I'm soooo into my music!! I don't even notice your laser stare at my paper and pen and my face, ugh!! think sometimes people think if you draw in public you are asking for observers. Like those plein air painters with the floppy hats who start conversations with strangers about the virtues of cerulean blue and hemp studio wear. I would understand if I were leaving a little hat with change next to me, inviting onlookers, but I'm just mindin' my own biz.
Anyway, it's a little unnerving sometimes. Feels like Space Invaders. Fo reelz.
Then, I went to the movie theatre to see "The Forgiveness of Blood." It's an Albanian movie, very good, btw. If you cannot already tell, I'm VERY comfortable doing stuff alone. The theatre was completely empty when I got there. And then two women came in, separately, and about ten minutes apart. One sat next to me. One sat behind me. Whut the - ?!! REALLY? THREE of us in here. Taking up about 6 square feet of space. Brrrrrr.
Soooooo, here are the cartoons. I only drew ONE of the women in the theatre, because, frankly, I didn't turn around and look at the woman behind me. I just sorta shifted in my seat. THAT burns calories, right?!
p.s. - Are you a fan of The Walking Dead?!! Omigosh, I'm ADDICTED. Must find activities to fill time until Season 3. (she pretends her taxes are done) Perhaps watching Prometheus trailer in an endless loop? I'm a-skeered . . .
Listening to the radio right now like I do. A lot. And there are a lot of shows and interviews about (but not enough, they are too busy trying to figure out WTF is up with the latest candidate-we-never-heard-of-but-he's-got-an-ego-and-a-kabillion-dollars-so-why-shouldn't-he-run??!!!) job-hunting, how to survive being unemployed, and I feel the pain. But, unlike the viewpoint of a lot of those shows, it's something I'm used to. So, maybe I should say I'm empathetic, but not really in pain. Anymore. You see, I'm a freelancer. I've been a freelancer for many years. Also, my hubby has been a professional in theatre for decades. And, in theatre, most of your work is year-to-year, month-to-month, or show-to-show contracts. So, we know what it's like to put ourselves out there, work our butts off, and hope people don't stop seeing shows and buying art/cartoons/handbags-I-make-while-watching Rocco's Dinner Party.
My several years of attempts to get back into the "corporate" world just proved to me that even though MAYBE I could get in, staying in was another matter altogether. I mean, they TELL YOU TO DO STUFF. Like, all the time!! And, after you've been a stand-up comic (IS THAT WORD HYPHENATED?! I dunno), and a freelance cartoonist . . . well, let's just say that being a professional smartass doesn't exactly prepare you to EXCEL in a cubicle. (Read: they don't LIKE it when you say what you really think. They just asked you that because HR told them they are supposed to look like they give a flying f--- . . .) gaaaahhhh. See what I mean? Anyway, I gotta stick to jobs where brutal honesty and political incorrectness pay off. So, being a comic/writer/cartoonist/artist, or however you prefer to describe me, is PERFECT for me. I can blog in my PJs. I can sleep in my clothes and then work all day in the same thing. Saves time. I can wear no makeup. Like EVER. I can pontificate on my blog and Tweet and Facebook and other nouns-turned-verbs. Is that a gerund? I dunno THAT, either. SEE HOW HONEST I GET TO BE? See how I get to yell in type whenever I feel like it!! THAT is freedom.
But, there are tradeoffs.
The freedom it does not necessarily allow you is financial freedom.
This doesn't mean you don't make money. It means you never know WHEN you're gonna make money. It is feast or famine. With a lotta famine in between. It works for me to wear my PJs as clothes and my clothes as PJs, first of all because I wear black all the time, so it works as a fashion statement, but also because I haven't bought new clothes in a long time. But, I don't care. I use gift money to buy art supplies. And then I make art and then I sell it. Circle of Life. Like in The Lion King! (Though, as our very little boy pointed out to us when that movie came out, "It's actually a Circle of Death. Because the lions eat the other animals.") Which brings me back to the corporate world.
The thing about not having a job and being in this scary scary market? Well, first of all you need to know that every artist, writer, singer, musician, actor, performer, event planner, filmmaker, freelancer of ANY sort which you know is USED TO SCARY. We live it, we breathe it, we ride the knife edge of when will another licensing check come, and will it, and do I have the money to go after fill-in-the-blank who definitely did not pay up, and thanking God that there are still AWESOME companies and people who value artists and writers, and then back to pleez-let-them-return-my-original-artwork-intact - WAIT!! This knife has too many edges. Bad metaphor. Roller coaster better? More of an analogy than a metaphor? I'm blogging, I don't have time to look these things up, and I have to get back to my 1920's-Paris-Bistro-Table-turned-art-table and make some draw-rings. Man, don't I love the dash? Or hyphen? You can look that up, too, if you feel compelled. I have a Harbrace College Handbook, but it's gathering dust at the moment. I'm too busy downloading vampire novels on my Kindle to bother that thang at the moment.
Anyway, all this yammering is meant to ENCOURAGE you. For reelz. Because, I have put myself out there. As have many others. Many of us are hurting in this economy (and if techies and nurses are having trouble being un- or under-employed, how do you think this economy is treating comics and writers and artists? The non-famous ones, I mean), but you need to put yourself out there. And keep doing it. It ain't easy. Matter of fact, mostly it sucks the biggest wind.
You might be surprised at this, but I'm actually an introvert. I'd rather sit and have a glass of wine with one or two friends than work a room or attend any party. I avoid crowds. (With the notable, which is why I'm noting it, exception of being on stage performing stand-up, and don't get me started on the psychology of that one! I just enjoy. Then I go backstage and beat myself up for all my mistakes, make notes on my set list and wish I'd been skinnier because then EVERYONE woulda liked me, really liked me!) Anyway, I do love performing comedy. I hate the business of comedy.
Trouble is, the business of freelancing ANYTHING is how you get the work. I have a couple of clients right now (and I feel really really BLESSED in this way) who really like my stuff. So, it's a volume game for the most part. If I do ENOUGH work, usually I make sales. It's a LOTTA work, I mean. You'd be surprised how many ideas get generated, drawn, and submitted to get ONE accepted. And I've been in this a while, so I'm not sending in stuff they've seen a kabillion times. But I love it. That's why I'm in it.
I had a whiny little text session with a friend in LA t'other day about how much I HATE the comedy business. Not the comedy, not performing it or writing it, or having tons of awesome hilarious people as friends, but the actual GETTING OF THE WORK. It sucks.
It's gonna suck.
This reminds me of a little thingy I read in (I think, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) Syd Field's book on screenwriting. Someone asked him in a seminar if Hollywood was really sexist and misogynist and racist and religionist and ageist . . . 'cuz that's what they had heard. His answer was . . .
YES. Are you IN or are you OUT?
So, that's the attitude we have to have. Even when we owe people money. Even when we don't know how to look nice for an interview, even when we are sick of getting new photos and spending hours resizing files and posting videos. Even when we really don't want to hear a critique of what we do, even when it seems everyone else is getting the breaks. (They're NOT.)
Are you in or are you out? Your decision.
I am a professional smartass.
And I'm glad my meds finally kicked in.
peace, love, and other things hippies say,
ADDED AFTER ORIGINAL POSTING: BTW, I'm not trying to give advice here. I'm just trying to encourage you. You are not alone. A lot of people feel your pain. And, really, actually know how you feel, deep down. Ignore the politics of this - the politicians who tell you they care usually don't, or used to, but are so far away from our day-to-day, they are clueless. (When your job is trying to be popular, well, I guess it does something to you . . .) So, hang in there, in spite of them. (Okay, maybe that IS advice.)
Still art journaling during Irene and in the aftermath - using daylight and a tiny little book light to work with at night :-) I cannot scan right now, no power since last Saturday mid-day, so forgive the quality of some of the pics, which are taken with my iPhone and might not show the detail I usually like to! I'll upload scans when I can :-) Happy journaling, all, and I want to remind you who live in the Hampton Roads area (provided you can read this, since 100s of 1000s are still w/o power!), to take care, the trees are still falling!! AND, that I will be teaching MULTI-MEDIA ART JOURNALING at the Williamsburg Art Education Center in September, starting the 15th. Just click on the link to the right, to sign up!
I did two art journal pieces yesterday - one is based on going to our fav Chinese place here, Peking - and my collection of fortune cookie fortunes, which I like to use in collages (2D + 3D). The other is this one, a purple page with a little gift card set I repurposed - just redesigned the card inside and wrote some private stuff on it! Feeling very introspective last night - and thankful for the outlet of art journaling!! I love paint and paper and pen! I think it's essential for creative people to have these outlets - otherwise you just feel "off" and irritable, and generally blecchy . . . I don't like feeling like crap, so I make a lotta art :-) Today I'm working on finishing an 80's style concert poster for a local concert series - I'm really excited about that one - it's flashing me back to early MTV! Another journal to come later today. To work! I spent the morning with my son buying crickets to feed our newest family member, Petri, an adorable skink we adopted from a college-bound bud of Andrew's. Now back to the paints!
We made paella on a budget the other night, and it was awesomeness! Two considerations for us were cost, and the fact that we had two vegetarians, and we didn't want them to have too much trouble picking out the meat and seafood, so we stuck to big chunks of chorizo, which they could easily spot. Also, we are fortunate in that LaTienda, a Spanish food importer, is based right here in Toano, of all places! So we can shop there. YOU are fortunate, in that they have a kick-ass website where you can order all foods Spanish: http://www.LaTienda.com.
I, BTW, cannot even THINK the word "paella" without thinking of the Fawlty Towers episode where Manuel makes (or talks a lot about making) his famous paella . . .
Here's the recipe - we were budgeting, and we have some great local fresh produce. My friend Alisa bought the veggies from a local farmer's market, and we went to LaTienda for the Spanish foods. I always keep smoked paprikas on hand - they add so much flavor! Anyway, here's the recipe we improv'd:
1/4 c. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt (we had some French salt, but you can use kosher or sea salt)
fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika - we used Spanish smoked paprika (the "bittersweet" style, from LaTienda)
1 large white onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow summer squash, diced
1 large (we used a ginormous one) bell pepper, diced
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
8 oz. Spanish style chorizo links (we got ours at LaTienda) - some recipes call for 1 pound, we went quality over quantity!!
4.5 cups chicken broth
2 cups short-grain rice (we used Bomba Spanish rice - it is awesome! you can sub Arborio)
pinch of saffron threads (don't hate us, but we skipped this, to save dinero)
Heat a paella pan or very large shallow skillet - a big cast-iron skillet is awesome, but I used my flat-bottomed cast-iron wok my cousin Shelia gave me a few years ago (thank you Shelia, I love my wok!!)
Pour in the olive oil, and heat to medium. Add the paprika, and stir it into the oil. Add the onions and the bell pepper, and sauté until softened. Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and chorizo. Cook that about 5 minutes, and add the veggies. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then stir in the rice. Cook without stirring for about 20 minutes.
I noticed that I did add a little more olive oil as I was cooking - use the salt and pepper to taste; I tend to throw in pinches while I'm cooking - you know your own taste :-)
We bought picos (little Spanish tapas breadsticks), cheese, and anchovy-stuffed olives to use as apps and to eat along with the paella, and had a great fresh salad Alisa made - with a great vinaigrette she made. We thought another touch which would be great would be do mince the anchovy-stuffed-olives and add to the vinaigrette!
OH!! and the SANGRIA:
2 cups simple syrup (sugar water - dissolve sugar in warm water) - this part is to your own taste, k? I didn't put much sugar in the syrup, so you have to gauge this to your own liking
1 24 oz (750 ml) bottle red wine (I used 3-buck-Chuck)
1/2 c. orange juice
10 oz. Tonic water
thinly sliced oranges, lemons, apples, or whatever you have on hand
Mix, pour over ice, enjoy - I DID punch this one up with about 3/4 c. of Trapiche Malbec (Argentina) - and that made it JUST RIGHT :-)